Last April we published the inaugural edition of our Most Wanted Driver Test. Goal was simple, conduct the most comprehensive, data-driven test the industry had ever seen.  Show how the top drivers of 2013 performed, and show all the data to back it up.  No marketing, no hype, no medals just results.  And let the results speak for themselves.

Not only do we feel like we succeeded in doing just that, but in 2014 it's going to be even better.  No longer will there be any question when golfers ask which is the #1 Driver in Golf, you will now have that answer.

So, for those who can't wait for the 2014 version, I have good news. We're going to be publishing our 2014 Driver Test much earlier this year.  It is coming in the next few weeks.

Invites Have Been Sent

Invitations were sent to twenty two different manufacturers. Each was invited to submit anything and everything from their 2014 lineup. Manufacturer and driver totals have exceed last year's count. What that means is that once again we'll be able to offer you the most comprehensive (#Datacratic) comparison of 2014 drivers you'll find anywhere.

The rules for participation are the same.

Manufacturers have been invited to provide driver samples in a range of lofts and flexes so that that we best fit our pool of testers. Anything that can be purchased "off-the-rack" by the consumer is fair game. This includes tour/pro heads and tour/tp shafts. If you can buy it, manufactures can and should send it.

For our part, we have 3 improvement goals for this year's test: Test more drivers, simplify the data/scoring, and build for the future. I'll expand on what all of that means as we get closer to publication, but sufficed to say we're extremely confident that this year's test is going to positively kill it. As the guys at Callaway would say...#BOOM!

police-lineup-wall2

Who's Out

The participant list has grown substantially, and all the drivers participating have now arrived. So, as always we believe in being 100% transparent regarding not only how the testing is done but who chose to participate and who didn't.  That means if you participate we tell the readers and if you don't...well...its only fair to tell the readers that too.  They deserve to know if a brand they would like to see included chose not to participate and why.

Companies who declined our invitation to participate :

  • Both Tom Wishon and Geek Golf will not have new product available in time for the test. (for obvious reasons they aren't able to participate).
  • Miura Golf  (Facebook) declined our invitation (irons remain their focus).
  • Bombtech Golf (Facebook) for an ever-expanding list of reasons, has regrettably declined to participate.
  • Titleist (Facebook) has declined our invitation and has declined to provide a specific reason for their decision. Draw your own conclusions.
  • Kick X Golf (Facebook) failed to respond to multiple email messages.

* If you would like to see these companies participate, feel free to contact at the links provided above to voice your concern.

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The Competitors (Who's In)

1. Wilson Staff FG Tour M3

Last year was a proof of concept year for Wilson Staff. With the D100 doing well at retail, former Adams designer, Michael Vrska, was given the greenlight to push ahead with the FG Tour Series. The FG Tour M3 is Wilson Staff's first ever adjustable driver. The dark matte grey 460cc head is adjustable from 8.5° to 11.5°.

Wilson FG Tour M3-7

Stock Shafts: Aldila RIP Phenom50, Aldila RIP Phenom NL 60
Retail Price: $349.99

2. ONOFF 2014 Type-D and Type-S (Gravity Control)

Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) powerhouse brings us thee Type-D (Red Driver) and Type-S Drivers. More than a few of you have asked us to include ONOFF in one of our reviews, and we're more than a little excited to do just that.

The Type-S will be tested by our higher swing speed (and generally higher spin) players, while the higher launching Type-D is designed with the average golfer in mind.

The Typse-D features a joint hosel design that allows for loft and lie to be adjusted by 1° in either direction.

ONOFF-1

Stock Shafts: ONOFF Smooth Kick MP-513D, ONOFF Smooth Kick MP-614D, Labospec Tataki 60
Retail Price: $700.00

3. Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 and XCG7 Beta

Tour Edge's absence from last year's test was glaring. This year, they refuse to be left out.

Our average swing speed players will be testing the 460cc XCG7 while our higher swing speed/higher spin guys will be testing the 440cc deep-faced XCG7 Beta. Both models are adjustable from 8.5° to 12°. Obviously we don't know how they'll stack up once the swinging starts, but I'm certain our testers are going to love the look of the new model.

TourEdge XCG7-12

Stock Shafts: Fujikura Exotics Fuel/Fuel Tour (Standard), Matrix Exotics White Tie/Red Tie/Black Tie (Beta)
Retail Price: $299.99, $349.99 (Beta)

4. PowerBilt Air Force One N7 DFX

PowerBilt is back for a 3rd time (1 review + our 2013 Golf's Most Wanted) with their latest driver the N7 XFD. Like previous PowerBilt drivers it's Nitrogen-charged, which as you should by now know, PowerBilt says creates more ballspeed and subsequently distance.

Overall last year's model performed well enough, but was positively abused by our testers over some design elements that could be described as tramp-stampy. This year's graphics have been refined, but the deep face that plenty of guys love remains a signature.

If you're looking for a longshot that could pay off, here's your horse.

AFO N7 DFX-1

Stock Shafts: Graphite Design G-Series/Fujikura Motore F3
Retail Price: $299.99

5. Tommy Armour 845

As far as good story goes, none in our test will like surpass the Tommy Armour 845. The last time I saw the once popular brand was roughly 8 years ago on the shelf at Dick's. The brand almost disappeared into obscurity before becoming the house brand at Sports Authority. That doesn't mean you should write it off. After years of questionable management of the brand, Sports Authority brought in Paul Boe to revitalize the line.

Boe was part of the hybrids team at Adams...you know, the guys that kicked Sonartec's ass and made Adams the #1 Hybrid in Golf. The dude has legit street cred. Rather than outsource development (as was the case in the past), Boe, along with former Adams guy David Martin, handle the design work for the Tommy Armour line.

If you're looking for an additional excuse to consider Tommy Armour. Think about this; while nearly every other driver in our test is $300 or more, the Tommy Armour 845 is currently being sold for $129, and while normal retail price is a relative steal at $149, Sports Authority will occasionally run $99 specials on the driver.

Tomy Armour -11

Stock Shafts: Apollo Shadow Tommy Armour 845
Retail Price: $149.00

6. Cobra BiO Cell Driver

Cobra's entry in this year's test is the new BiO Cell. The new model features updated 8-way adjustability, a larger effective sweet zone (more ball speed across more of the face), and retains Cobra's SmartPad technology designed to keep the club square at address regardless of how the MyFly Sleeve is set up.

While Cobra hasn't moved away from its signature color (blue, red, silver, and orange are still available) for the traditionalists among us, the BiO Cell is also available in black. All colors feature visible crown cell weighting towards the rear of the club.

Cobra BIO Cell-1

Stock Shafts: Project X - PXv
Retail Price: $299.00

7. Cleveland 588 Altitude and Custom

Cleveland's Altitude is billed as an ultralight model that gives more distance to game-improvement, and moderate swing speed players. We'll see about that! Our higher swing speed/low launch/more aggressive hitters will be swing the Custom version of the 588.

While last year's Classic finished middle of the pack it was most certainly a driver that I enjoyed hitting. With some known Cleveland fans in this year's testing pool, it's safe to assume that this is one of the drivers that some of our guys are going to be excited to hit.

Cleveland 588-3

Stock Shafts: Matrix RADIX
Retail Price: $299.00

8. Krank Formula 5

A bit like the PING Anser last year, the Krank Formula 5 was reviewed as a one-off, but is back again to go head to head against basically everybody who matters in the driver game.

By now you should know the story. A long driver crossover trying to make inroads into the 18 hole game, Krank has the reputation for being one of the longest drivers in golf (however it's played).

Fresh off their victory at the RE/MAX Long Drive Championship, Krank is hoping that our Most Wanted Driver Test will make it 2 in a row for the Formula 5.

Krank Formula 5-1

Stock Shafts: Fujikura Inertia Tour
Retail Price: $399.00 (Special Price)

9. Nike VRS Covert 2.0 and VRS Covert Tour 2.0

The most visually stunning driver in our 2013 test was, if we're all being honest here, arguably the biggest disappointment in our test as well. While both the Performance and Tour models produced some monster drivers, overall it didn't quite match up to the top tier drivers in our test. VRS Covert was the driver everyone wanted to love, but nobody did.

For 2014 Nike is back with the Covert 2.0 series. The aesthetics are similar (my 2 cents, still the most stunning in the test), but both models have been refined with the most noteworthy addition being that of Fly-Brace technology, which Nike claims reduces energy loss due to vibration (particularly at the rear of the club).

I hit the new Covert 2.0 series at Nike's Innovation Unleashed event, and while I'm certain the new models are in fact better, we won't really know how good they are until we get them on the launch monitor with the rest of the clubs in this year's test.

Nike VRS Covert 2-12

Stock Shafts: Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Black HBP/ Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver (Tour)
Retail Price: $299 / $399 (Tour)

10. Sinister Golf Agent Orange

The 10th entry in our 2014 test is a name you may not recognize. Hell, I had only just heard of Sinister Golf myself when they reached out to us and asked to be included in our test.

Sinister Golf began with an idea to create not only a brand, but also a movement in a small, yet powerful community. In that respect, the Sinister story doesn't sound much different from our own.

We honestly have no idea what to expect from the Agent Orange, but when you've got a few companies going out of their way to avoid our driver test, we're more than happy to oblige a smaller brand willing to do whatever it takes to get in. Besides, why should we let Cobra lay claim to being the only orange driver in the test.

Agent Orange-1

Stock Shafts: Sinister drivers are built to order, however, our test samples feature Fujikura EXS shafts.
Retail Price: $289

11. Adams XTD

Adams is telling a pretty interesting story with their new XTD. While they're telling us it has the hottest face in golf, the more interesting piece is the focus on tight tolerances.

The Adams philosophy is that the XTD driver you buy will perform just like the one you tried in the story. The idea is that all clubs aren't created equally. Some drivers hit the USGA's max CT, and some...well, some may come up a little bit short. It's a luck of the draw type of thing.

With the XTD Driver, Adams has a tightly controlled manufacturing process that measures the CT of every head at 4 different points during the manufacturing process. Sure, everybody wants max COR. With the XTD, Adams makes sure you get it.

Adams XTD-1-2

Stock Shafts: Matrix 6Q3 (Red Tie)
Retail Price: $399.99

12. Cobra BiO Cell+

When we announced that Cobra's BiO Cell driver would be part of our test, there was plenty of speculation about BiO Cell+. Did Cobra choose to send only BiO Cell? Did MyGolfSpy not want BiO Cell, or were we just holding off on the announcement?

It was that last one.

Joining BiO Cell in our test is BiO Cell+ and its Venollum crown. More ZL than Amp Cell, BiO Cell+ is (loft for loft) expected to launch a little bit lower, and spin a little less than BiO Cell.

Cobra BIO Cell+-1

Stock Shafts: Matrix 6Q3 (Red Tie)
Retail Price: $399.99

13. PING i25

Under embargo until January 2nd, we weren't allowed to tell you that the PING i25 Driver was part of our test. Now we can...and so we're telling you that it is.

The i25 replaces the PING i20, which remains the #1 driver we've ever tested. While we fully expect that the i25 will hold its own, particularly among our faster, more aggressive, higher swing players, like some others in this test, the lack of 12.5° may hurt its overall chance. It's not really designed for those guys anyway, so pay attention to the results from our lower loft players.

PING i25 Driver-21

Stock Shafts: PING PWR, PING PWR Tour
Retail Price: $399.99

14. Callaway Big Bertha

In case you haven't heard, she's back, and not only that, she's going to be a part of our test.

There's no bigger story in the golf equipment world right now than the return of Big Bertha, so it's a pretty safe assumption that golfers are going to be very interested to see how well this lady (with her sexy adjustable perimeter weighting) can hold her own against the other boys in the test.

Callaway Big Bertha-1

Stock Shafts: Mitsubishi Fubuki Z
Retail Price: $399.99

15. YONEX i-EZONE TX

A Pro model of sorts, the YONEX i-EZONE is 445cc , has a deep face, and when you look at it from the side...man; the profile is distinctive.

There are a few unknowns in this test, but few if any are more compelling then this YONEX offering. This will be the first time YONEX has been included in our testing, and we're definitely looking forward to seeing how they do.

Yonex EZONE IEZONE TX-1

Stock Shafts: YONEX Nanometric
Retail Price: $449.99

16. PING G25

Back again for the 2nd year in a row is the PING G25. The G25 performed well across the board, and realistically, a few extra yards here or there and it could have finished on top.

It's a new year, and while most of the driver are different, you just never know. The G25 is one of those rare clubs that allows lower swing speed players to thrive while still remaining playable for more aggressive, higher swing speed types.

PING G25-2

Stock Shafts: PING TFC 189D
Retail Price: $349.99

17. Mizuno JPX-EZ

Last year limited options combined with the lack of adjustability hurt the Mizuno JPX 800 Driver. While average swing speed guys did well with it, higher swing speed players would almost certainly have benefited from less loft to help take some of the spin off. That was then.

This year Mizuno is offering up the JPX-EZ. It's the first adjustable hosel driver from Mizuno, and we hope that the added flexibility that comes from Mizuno's QuickSwitch means better numbers for both our low loft and high trajectory players.

Mizuno JPXEZ-2

Stock Shafts: Fujikura Orochi
Retail Price: $299.99

18. Callaway X2 Hot & X2 Hot Pro

What needs to be said here? When you're the defending overall champion it makes nothing but sense to come back and defend your crown with the latest model.

It's really simple. X Hot won last year. Can X2 Hot repeat?

Callaway X2Hot-1aCallaway X2Hot-6b

Stock Shafts: Aldila Tour Blue / Aldila Tour Green
Retail Price: $349.99

19. YONEX EZONE XP

For my money, the YONEX EZONE XP is the single most compelling entry in our test...at least as far as having a good story goes.

The XP has Tungsten in the head, and Tungsten in the grip, with a lightweight shaft in-between. YONEX calls the design a "breakthrough" that leads to more power from the same effort. At the very least, the EZONE XP is a pretty damn cool looking driver.

Yonex EZONE XP-1

Stock Shafts: YONEX EX300
Retail Price: $349.00

20. Callaway Big Bertha Alpha

You didn't think Bertha would show up without the Alpha did you? Two words for you: Gravity Core.

Big Bertha Alpha's entry means that Callaway will have 3 different drivers vying for the title of Golf's Most Wanted Driver (2014 Edition). And to think, they could have sent FT Optiforce too.

Callaway Big Bertha-13

Stock Shafts: Fubuki ZT
Retail Price: $499.00

21. TaylorMade JetSpeed

The continuation of the low/forward CG story that began with the SLDR, JetSpeed should not be overlooked in this test.

Offering more forgiveness than SLDR, with just as much pop, TaylorMade's lower priced offering is a serious threat to walk away with the crown.

TaylorMade JetSpeed Driver-2

Stock Shafts: Matrix Velox T 49/ Matrix Velox ST 60 (TP)
Retail Price: $299.00/$399.00 (TP)

22. TaylorMade SLDR

No doubt the one everybody's been waiting to see (if only because most of you were expecting it anyway). It'd be a little silly to call it the Most Wanted Driver test if we left out the current #1 selling driver in golf.

With as many bells and whistles as you'll find on any driver ever, the SLDR is equal parts hype and performance. We know the low and forward CG can produce absolutely massive distance, but how will the SLDR hold up on those strikes that aren't exactly dead solid nutted?

We're about to find out.

TaylorMade SLDR Driver-1

Stock Shafts: Fujikura Speeder 57 / Fujikura MOTORE Speeder TS 7.3 (TP)
Retail Price: $399.00/$499.00 (TP)

23. Wilson D100

Joining the PING G25 as a holdover from last season, the Wilson D100 is back, and ready to make another run.

Truthfully, the ultralight design, coupled with a limited section of lofts and flexes means the D100 probably won't provide an ideal fit for everyone. That said, I'm all but certain there won't be another driver in the test that, swing for swing, is as much fun to hit.

Wilson D100-1

Stock Shafts: Matrix Ozik HD 4.1
Retail Price: $299.00

Full 2014 Most Wanted Driver Coverage

:: Coming Soon - MyGolfSpy's 2014 Most Wanted Driver Test
:: 2014 Golf's Most Wanted Driver - It's Go Time
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver - Distance Awards
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver - Accuracy Awards
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver - Overall Winners
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver - Tester's Pick
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver - Beyond the Data
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver - The Data